Opinion | Trust

Opinion: Chumash Tribe needs support for land-into-trust bids

Trent Benedetti of the Committee to Improve North County supports land-into-trust efforts of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians:
In a video, “The Fight to Reclaim Ancestral Land,” the tribe tells the story of its quest to place two parcels of land into federal trust — 6.9 acres across the street from the reservation, and 1,400 acres of ranch land commonly known as “Camp 4.” It is explained that there are two ways to place land into federal trust — administratively through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), or legislatively through Congress.

The tribe’s application to the BIA to place its 6.9 acres into trust to build a cultural museum and commemorative park has been approved twice. But local opponents have filed lawsuits against the BIA’s decisions, thereby holding up the process for years. In the meantime, the tribe continues to amass a collection of artifacts tribal members hope will someday be displayed in their museum.

Due to the difficulties the tribe experienced going through the administrative process with opponents fighting its 6.9-acre project, a decision was made to explore the legislative process for placing its 1,390 acres of land into federal trust. The tribe hopes to build housing on Camp 4 for tribal members and their families.

Get the Story:
Trent Benedetti: The fight to reclaim ancestral land (The Santa Maria Times 5/2)

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